Can You Measure the ROI of Content Marketing? 6 Metrics You Must Track

One of the hottest topics for any content marketer is the story of ROI. Without proving the ROI of content marketing, your enterprise team might not get the budget or resources it deserves. Yet, so many of us struggle to connect the dots in our content analytics, regarding how they demonstrate lead acquisition, conversions, and revenue.

To measure content marketing ROI effectively, you need to determine what success looks like, which translates to goals. Are you trying to grow your email opt-in list, drive registrations for a webinar, direct prospects to request a demo, or even make a purchase?

All these things highlight the performance of your content in the customer journey. It’s not one interaction or touch necessary to acquire a new customer — it’s many! Your content is the common thread from top to mid to bottom-funnel.

Here’s what we know about content consumption for B2B buyers. They typically read 13 pieces of content before making a decision. Most of this (70 percent), they’ll source directly from your website.

So, it’s critical to measure ROI throughout the entire process, from when they become aware of your brand until they purchase. With all the sophisticated marketing tech stacks that many enterprise teams have and people in content operations dedicated roles, why is it still so elusive?

ROI Is a Top-Five Challenge for Content Marketers

According to the Annual Content Marketing Survey published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), ROI is a top-five challenge, with 31 percent of respondents saying such.

challenges with outsourcing help

Image: CMI

The survey also revealed that the majority (51 percent) said their ability to demonstrate ROI was average, which indicated they have insights but lack measurement data showing ROI.

So, there appears to be multiple issues around ROI, including:

  • Knowing what to measure and how to measure it
  • Understanding which metrics illustrate ROI
  • Aggregating data from multiple sources to get a complete picture of performance

It can be a huge pain point, but you have to do it. You need it to get funding for your department and ensure it receives the attribution it deserves regarding revenue. Additionally, you’ll want to do this because it helps you learn what works and doesn’t. You won’t get “better” at content marketing without understanding performance.

So, where do you start?

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Getting Started with Content Analytics

Your first move is to set a baseline of your current numbers. From this, you’ll compare everything you do moving forward. You want to measure everything, which will depend on the tactic and includes:

  • Traffic and the sources
  • Engagement (on your website and social media)
  • Search engine rankings
  • Conversions
  • Sales
  • Click-through rates
  • Open rates (email marketing)

More data could mean more work if you have to combine it manually; however, data is gold for content marketers. You should collect these metrics monthly and compare them to previous timeframes. As you do, it will become easier to measure the ROI of content more accurately.

This data will help you with the granular performance areas, such as customer acquisition costs, to more abstract things like brand equity. To make it easier for your team to deliver these reports, you’ll appreciate a content marketing platform that aggregates data from multiple sources and provides analytics in one place.

Measuring your content marketing ROI involves a lot of data. The basic calculation remains simple:

Content Marketing ROI = The Value Content Generates / The Costs to Produce It

To calculate this, you’ll need clarity around these figures. What you choose to track depends on your specific goals. Some are universal, and we believe these six are the most critical.

The 6 Metrics You Need to Track for Content Marketing ROI

1. The Volume of Content You Publish

The rate at which you produce content is critical to calculating its ROI. Your content strategy should define your expected throughput for a month, including formats, the campaigns associated with the content, and the distribution channels. Your production schedule should align with your content calendar.

2. Content Production Costs

How much does it cost to bring a piece of content from ideation to publication to promotion? It’s another vital part of the ROI equation.

Those costs could include your full-time staff, payments to outsourced creators, technology fees, and other overhead expenses. Try to determine the average cost for each type of content. For example, infographics and ebooks have more design elements, so they typically cost more.

3. Website Traffic

One of the easiest metrics to track is traffic to your website. You can find this in Google Analytics. However, not all traffic is equal. Look at the traffic source (e.g., direct, search, social media, third-party sites, etc.). You also want to look at returning vs. new traffic. Each piece of content will have its own traffic metrics, including views, clicks, and bounce rates.

4. Conversion Rates

Every piece of content you produce should have a CTA (call to action). Not all of those will be conversion-specific. It depends on where they land in the funnel. For those CTAs that relate to your definition of a conversion (e.g., subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a gated piece of content, requesting a demo), use a tracking code so you know the specific content that led to the conversion.

Tracking conversions helps you measure ROI and optimize content. If you learn that certain CTAs resonate with audiences, you’ll want to use more of those.

5. Sales

Every business is in business to make money. Content marketing delivers these by consistently attracting and converting buyers. When your company makes a sale, if the lead came from content marketing and the prospect engaged and interacted throughout the buying process, it should get the credit.

To determine this, you’ll need the tracking code to determine the conversions, as noted above. Additionally, leads from content should start as an MQL (marketing-qualified lead). Those are the numbers that will tell you how content contributes to revenue.

6. Social Media Engagement

Engagement on social media is a big deal for content marketing ROI. It’s not necessarily revenue, but a place where buyers discover products, interact with brands, and check their credibility. If you create content that gets shares, likes, and comments, you’re doing a lot right! Social media engagement raises your brand’s visibility and can indicate trust.

Content Marketing ROI: Measure Like a Boss

ROI doesn’t always mean revenue. It’s much deeper than that; it’s about your reputation and connection with your audience. Content is what they consume to find out who you are and what you can do for them.

To measure your ROI like the content boss you are, you need a tool that makes it easy. DivvyHQ does that with integrated content analytics that are also accessible. See how it works by requesting a content analytics demo today.